Although the food is the most important part of enjoying an Italian dinner, dressing appropriately will only reflect positively on yourself. For an informal Italian meal, you don't need to dress up in the best clothes in your closet, but you should base the decision on how informal you dress on where the dinner is, who will be attending and what kind of food will be served.
Informal Evening Wear
When deciding on what to wear for an informal Italian dinner, you must first consider the basic rules of informal, or casual, wear. For casual evening wear, men and women can both wear jeans, preferably a darker wash. For tops, you could wear anything from a T-shirt to a dressier button-down shirt, depending on how informal the dinner will be. One way to determine this is to find out what food will be served, or check out the menu if you are going to a restaurant. For example, if the Italian dinner will be serving pizza, a simple T-shirt may be appropriate, while a dinner with a lobster risotto calls for dressier casual such as a button-down for men and a fitted sweater for women.
Location of Dinner
Where the dinner will be should also factor into what you are wearing. You may want to get more dressed up if you are going out to a restaurant for the Italian dinner. There may be a dress code even if the restaurant is casual. Call ahead to make sure this is not the case. You may also just want to get a little dressier for eating out than you would if you were just going to the home of a relative a family dinner.
The people who will be at the dinner should also factor into what you plan to wear to this informal Italian dinner. For instance, if the dinner is being hosted by a boss or colleague, you don't want to show up in a sloppy T-shirt. Despite not being in the office, sloppy dress could reflect poorly on you. A casual dress, or slacks and a golf-shirt or button-down shirt would be more appropriate. If the dinner is a family dinner with a lot of children around, consider wearing something that is family friendly. For example, parents may take offense to women wearing very low-cut tops around their children.
If you know what will be served at the Italian dinner, it may also help you decide what to wear. It's easy to wind up with a stain from a tomato-based sauce on your shirt, so you may want to wear something dark to hide the stains. Avoid shirts with flowing sleeves that can drag into the food or on someone's plate if you are reaching for a dish and passing it to someone.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.